Durham Estate Churches Network

In 2018/19, steps were taken to create a learning and support network for people ministering in estate parishes across the Diocese. ‘Estate parishes’ in this Diocese is a stretchable term, embracing and including our many so-called ‘post-industrial’ communities and others characterised by the social and economic challenges they face.

This initiative was in part a response to the emergence of the national Estates Evangelism Task Group (EETG) set up as part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform agenda. The Task Group’s aim is to “seek to renew the Church on social housing estates using both proclamation and service” and underpinning their approach is “the presumption that the renewal of the Church will come from the margins and from the nation’s poorest and most forgotten people.” Ruth Young, now Advisor for Discipleship and Evangelism, has been the Diocesan link person to the Task Group.

The EETG began working away in 2016 to consult, then create and in 2019 launch its Strategy and Manifesto, which has recently been updated and is soon to be re-launched. You will find more information on these websites:

  Our Diocesan initiative to set up a support network for those in ministry in estate and post-industrial communities began with three exploratory events over a number of months. All were well-attended by between 60 and 70 clergy and lay leaders, and we were set to develop and grow the Network in response to what they were saying. We set up a Facebook page and made links with the National Estate Churches Network

Then came Covid… As with so much else, plans for the Network were put on hold. But not completely – a small committed group have continued to meet to keep the idea alive, spurred on by their belief that these communities and the people who serve there deserve affirmation, support and encouragement. Recently this group has connected more closely with Communities Together Durham and Communities of Hope, and together are set to pick up the possibility of growing this community (network) of support, learning and encouragement for church leaders in and around our estate and post-industrial places. 

If you are interested and want to find out more, or have any thoughts on how it might develop in ways that really respond to what people care about or need, please get in touch:

Ruth Young
Discipleship and Evangelism Advisor
07918 122875

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